University of Colorado Boulder Provost Russell L. Moore today announced the appointment of Sharon F. Matusik as the dean of the Leeds School of Business. Matusik has been serving as the interim dean since January 2017. She assumes the permanent role Thursday.
Throughout 2017, Matusik has been instrumental in driving strategy and stability while launching key initiatives to better position Leeds in meeting the needs of the modern business student. Aligned with Chancellor Philip DiStefano’s strategic campus imperatives, Matusik is focused on shaping tomorrow’s leaders and prioritizing innovation and entrepreneurship through curriculum and real-world problem-solving.
Prior to her deanship, Matusik served in numerous other leadership roles, including senior associate dean for faculty and research and as a board member for nonprofit organizations, such as the Strategic Management Society and MBA Women International (formerly Graduate Women in Business). Formerly the academic director of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship, Matusik continues to teach classes on strategy and entrepreneurship, and regularly counsels startups along the Front Range. Matusik worked in the consulting field for seven years before joining Leeds in 2004.
“I am pleased to name Sharon as the permanent leader of the Leeds school,” Moore said. “Sharon has proven to be a very collaborative member of our leadership team who contributes valuable insights into how the Leeds school can contribute to and be an integral part of a campus-wide strategic vision.”
Further, Moore said Matusik has demonstrated her ability to move the school forward and galvanize faculty, staff and students around a common mission that embraces innovation and entrepreneurship in both academics and research.
“With Sharon at the helm, we are assured that Leeds will continue on its very positive upward trajectory and remain a top business school that positions our students for life-long career success,” Moore said.
Matusik is spearheading a building expansion in partnership with the College of Engineering and Applied Science to foster deeper collaboration between the schools. The expansion will provide creative space for experiential learning, collaborative areas for an entrepreneurial hub and areas that facilitate connections between students and CU Boulder’s faculty.
Career Impact Initiative focuses on high growth ventures
Matusik is also leading the Career Impact Initiative, which will help Leeds fine tune how it delivers education in order to set up graduates for long-term success. While Leeds already has high placement rates for its graduates – around 93 percent within three months of graduation – the school is working with top employers nationwide to identify the specific skills and experiences that differentiate those on a high career trajectory three to five years after graduation. This information will serve as a basis for curricular and co-curricular improvements. As part of this initiative, Matusik and faculty members are also working with the entrepreneurial and innovation community to make sure students are positioned to be the top choice for business talent in high growth ventures.
Additionally, the Leeds School launched the End the Gap by 2020 initiative in February. Designed to encourage more women to pursue undergraduate and graduate business education, the campaign works to shift the conversation and the playing field around gender – beginning with the business school classroom and ending in the C-suite. Still in its early stages, the initiative has already increased female first-year enrollment to 43 percent, compared to 38 percent at the same time last year, despite application and acceptance rates remaining unchanged.
“I am honored and grateful for this opportunity,” Matusik said. “I have enjoyed working with our students, faculty, staff and the business community over the past 13 years as a faculty member and over the last few months in my role as interim dean, and I look forward to deepening those relationships to drive Leeds forward.”
Gordon Trafton, chairman of the Leeds Board of Alumni and Friends, said he believed the appointment of Matusik represented "an acceleration point" for Leeds.
"Whether the conversation is faculty research, student demographics and engagement, rankings or advancement, it is clear that Sharon will champion efforts to ensure Leeds remains a national and international leader," Trafton said. "I applaud her appointment and am proud to be part of Leeds’ future."
Matusik holds a doctoral degree in strategic management from the University of Washington and a bachelor's degree in both economics and English from Colby College. Her research has examined topics including how markets value the innovation activities of firms, what accounts for variation in profitability levels of entrepreneurial firms and how the diversification of a venture capital firm affects its performance. Her work has been published in top international academic journals and is widely cited in the management field.
"Sharon brings a sense of entrepreneurship and innovation plus a wide-open culture and environment that is like a breath of fresh air at the school,” said Michael Leeds, a naming benefactor and key advocate of the Leeds School of Business who sits on the Leeds Board of Alumni and Friends. “I am very appreciative of the faculty, staff and students who provided such strong feedback to the provost that led to her appointment and greatly look forward to the future at Leeds."